As we’ve done in the past, the keys to the Pittsburgh Steelers winning (or losing) today’s game. Three things that need to happen for them to end up on the right side of the score and vice versa in their Week 4 matchup against the Green Bay Packers
My prediction is at the bottom.
The Steelers Will Win If…
1. This Team (Not Just The Offense) Creates Chunk Plays
Theme I’ve repeated time and time again. It’ll be true until this offense stops looking like something out of 2019. Even the team’s no-huddle offense, about the only thing that worked last year, has been limited under new OC Matt Canada. At this point, the Steelers need to create big plays to win games. Talking offense, defense, and special teams. Everyone has to step up.
2. Pittsburgh Defends The Quick Game
Pittsburgh’s pass rush should be more effective this week with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith’s return. And the Packers know that. Their counter is going to be getting the ball at quick, just as they did in last week’s win over the San Francisco 49ers. With a patchwork offensive line, Rodgers isn’t going to hold onto the ball long. How well the Steelers corners can drive and make plays on the football and tackle the catch will be big. Hope to see a guy like Cam Heyward get his hand in throwing lanes too. Disrupt some of those slants and over-the-ball routes.
3. The O-Line Gives Ben Time
An obvious one. On paper, Pittsburgh should have an easier time against the Packers’ dulled pass rush minus Za’Darius Smith. Still, this front is struggling and new RT Joe Haeg, an upgrade in the run game, isn’t so in the pass game. Roethlisberger has been hit and hit hard the last two games. He’s going to need more time in the pocket than what he’s been afforded.
The Steelers Will Lose If…
1. Aaron Jones Wins In Space
The Packers’ run game hasn’t been very successful this season. But Jones has still made his mark with more receiving touchdowns (3) than rushing scores (2). Devin Bush and Joe Schobert will have to keep him in check. Jones can run the whole route tree even some vertical concepts out of the backfield, something very few teams run these days at the NFL level.
2. Young DBs Struggle Vs Rodgers
It’s not easy playing a quarterback with as much experience and talent as Rodgers. James Pierre and Tre Norwood have taken their lumps against Josh Allen, Derek Carr, and Joe Burrow. Rodgers game is on another level, even above Allen with his experience and ability to manipulate defenders. Rodgers has the arm, mobility to extend plays, and incredible accuracy that every receiver is open at any given moment. You can bet Rodgers will test these guys, especially if/when Pierre gets matched up on Pierre. Pittsburgh may opt to keep Sutton on the outside more and play more of Norwood or Arthur Maulet to get a better matchup on Adams.
3. First Down Offense Continues Negative Plays
Will keep griping about this one until it gets better. Pittsburgh is 31st in first down offense, averaging 3.7 yards per play. They’re tied for the team lead with six sacks on first down and lead the league in negative plays with 14. With that kind of output, everything else the team is trying to do goes flying out the window. There simply aren’t a lot of good playcalls on 2nd and 12 or 3rd and 8. Big-picture, that’s where the offense is failing most of all right now.
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